Eight treasures? It's a generic expression that symbolizes bumper harvest, fortune and happiness. Just the name is a perfect hint of how rich the ingenious Chinese culinary creation tastes. Dig into the belly of the duck. Ham, the most important ingredient, is put into the duck belly together with other materials like glutinous rice, mushrooms and beans. Then the whole duck is braised in rich soy sauce. It's a typical Spring Festival dish for all ages offered in Shanghai's most visited eating establishments, but the best Babaoya is cooked by Shanghai Old Restaurant in Chenghuangmiao.
Tangyuan (Glutinous Rice Balls)
Qibao Old Street Tangyuan Restaurant: 26 South Street, Qibao,Minhang District
Wangjiasha Pastry Shop: 805 Nanjing West Road, Jing'an Distrct
Glutinous rice flour is mixed with a small amount of water to form balls cooked and served in boiling water. Tangyuan is traditionally eaten during Yuanxiao or the Lantern Festival, but also served on any occasions such as family reunion. Top kitchens offering great Tangyuan include, among others, Qibao Old Street Tangyuan Restaurant, Wangjiasha Pastry Shop.
Chunjuan (Spring Rolls)
Qiaojiashan (Haichao Road): 162 Haichao Road, Huangpu District
In Chinese cuisine, spring rolls are savory rolls with cabbage and other vegetable fillings inside a wrapped cylinder-shaped thin pastry. They are fried to a savory crisp and usually eaten during the Spring Festival in Mainland China. In Shanghai, time-honored kitchens which cook excellent spring rolls include Qiaojiashan and Xiandelai. If you prefer DIY-ing spring rolls, you can buy wrappings, but long crowds tend to form at stores.
Niangao (Chinese New Year Cake)
Xianlaide Ribs and Niangao (Yandang): 9 Yandang Road, Huangpu District
The glutinous rice cake can be eaten all year round, but traditionally it is most popular during Chinese New Year. In Chinese language, it's a homonym for "higher year" – Nian is identical in sound to the Chinese character which means "year", while "Gao" is identical in sound to the Chinese character which means "high", and as a whole Niangao means "you go higher and higher year by year" or "you become more and more successful". Niangao can be fried with sliced meat, crabs, ribs and seafood…it's soft, stick and flavorful. In Shanghai, Xianlaide's dish which features ribs cooked with Niangao is the best.